{Click here for part one}


Day 3, August 2–Up to this point in the trip we were having an incredible time, but today was going to be so exciting because we were going to see a lot of  the major attractions in D.C.  We left the hotel pretty early and didn’t return until 12-13 hours later. It was an incredibly long day with tons of walking, but it was an incredibly wonderful day as well. 🙂

WARNING!!!! This being a very big day and touring for 13 hours means we saw A TON, and learned A TON of things, thus making this post quite long with tons of pictures 🙂

Arriving in D.C. area and driving past the Pentagon. 🙂 Pretty cool! It’s not everyday that you just drive past the Pentagon. 🙂




United States Department of Agriculture. Our guide told us not to eat there (they have a cafeteria), “They know how to raise it, but not how to cook it.”  🙂


There were lots of places we drove past but didn’t tour (you can only do so much in two days. 🙂 I am very happy though with what we did see in those two days. 🙂 ) Ford’s Theater where President Lincoln was shot was one of them…


After he was shot, they took him right across the road to the red brick building (the one with the steps), and it was there that he died.

Ever wonder where the Freedom Speech (Martin Luther King, Jr.), or The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Julia Ward Howe), was written? Right here in The Willard Hotel. It was a hotel then and still is now.  You can even stay in it…if you’re willing to pay $1,000 a night! :O


Union Station: the three flags represent Christopher Columbus’s three ships: Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria.



This is one of the moments where your standing there, looking at the WHITE HOUSE, and you just want to pinch yourself! I’ve seen tons of pictures of almost everything we saw in D.C. that day, but I’m telling you, when you see it in person it’s just wild, crazy, amazing! So. Exciting. 🙂  “Little me, who lives 10 hrs. west of here in a tiny town and is surrounded by cornfields, little me hick from the sticks is standing here (with my sister, can’t forget that wonderful aspect of it! 🙂 ), in D.C. in front of the presidents house looking at it with my very own two eyes!” Ahhhhh! Okay, I will stop rambling and get on to the other pictures, but I strongly recommend going and seeing it for yourself! 😉




Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden… 🙂




I was so thrilled to have Susannah with me to experience this wonderful…experience! 🙂




Just one of many pictures we took of Washington monument. It was pretty cool because everywhere we went you could always see it. Our tour guide told us that it’s 555 feet tall, and by law, no other building is allowed to be taller in D.C. From the ground to the two little windows is 500, and then from the windows to the point 55.

Also, you can’t see it very well (in this picture), but not quite a 1/3 way up you can see a color change. That’s because after 24 yrs. of working on it they ran out of funds. It set unfinished for 40 yrs., actually was an eye sore, and there was talk of taring it down. James Garfield was elected  as president in 1880 with the promise that he would finish Washington Monument (that’s how he got a lot of his votes). Four months into his term he was assassinated. His Vice President, Chester Arthur, became president and the people said “hey, he made this promise!” So Chester Arthur said I will have it completed in a year and he did! The whole monument is made from the same stuff but the first 150 feet of it is aged, thus giving the color difference. 🙂




Love the red flowers, it really makes it pop! Besides, red is my favorite color 😉




I tried to soak in every moment and not let my mind just get on to the next thing.




Looking down the streets like this was pretty cool, you can catch a glimpse of what it’s like in the picture but honestly, it just doesn’t do it justice…like everything else 🙂




More Washington Monument info: there are 50 flags surrounding it, representing the 50 states 🙂




Apparently,  the dome on the Capitol has over 200 cracks in it and is needing some repairs. You can’t see it in this picture but the lower half of the dome has some scaffolding on it. Our tour guide said in a couple of weeks the dome will be hidden by the rest of the scaffolding that’s going up and you won’t be able to see it for three years! Wow, glad we got to see it now!




Another pinch me moment 😉




In front of the Capitol looking at Capitol Reflecting Pool.  The statue is of Ulysses S. Grant.   



You can see some of the scaffolding here.




National Library of Congress (only saw it from a distance didn’t go in it…Susannah was sad about that… 🙂  ).

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with more than 158 million items on approximately 883 miles of bookshelves!!!!  (Click here for some interesting facts about the library!) If the books were all laid out side by side, that would be 1500 miles of books!!!!!






Our tour guide (the one holding his arm out 🙂 ) explaining something to our group. He was a wonderful tour guide. 86 yrs. old and we had to try and keep up with him! 🙂 By the end of the two days touring with him, our brains hurt from trying to take in so much information! 🙂 But it was a good kind of hurt 😉




Waiting to go through security to enter the Capitol.





Oh the wonderful security (actually it was kind of fun because, again, we don’t have this type of stuff here in the cornfields 😉 ). Here at the Capitol is where it was the strictest  (and understandably so!),  my hairpins set off the alarm.




We got to eat lunch in the Capitols cafeteria! Ahhh, way cool!












Yes, a fun experience but oh man! The prices! 😛 But hey, it’s not everyday that your IN the Capitol building eating lunch no less! So enjoy the experience. 😉




My lunch, I found it kind of funny that I came all the way to D.C., I’m eating at the Capitol  and I get…grilled cheese and fries…what can I say, I’m American! 😉




We had lunch with Margret (L) and Barbra (R) and hung out together a lot on the parts of the tour that we were let loose. (more pictures to come with these fun ladies! 🙂 ) They also sat right behind us on the bus so we had the pleasure of getting to know them better. 🙂







This is the visitor center in the Capitol and it’s actually a bomb shelter. When 9/11 happened there was a lock down at the capitol and it was discovered that there were 2,000 visitors amongst the rest of the people. Since then they have made the bomb shelter, but you can’t call it that 🙂 so it’s called the visitor center. We noticed that the doors were exceptionally heavy to open, found out later that’s why.




While we were resting and waiting for our tour of the Capitol, another group (the three kneeling), asked if they could have a picture with us. They were on a scavenger hunt and needed a picture with tourists doing thumbs up. 🙂 Then others (on the same scavenger hunt), saw that they had found someone to do the picture with, so they lined up to get theirs, too. So our group just sat, smiled and did thumbs up for about five or six pictures. 🙂






Freedom statue, the original (the one that sits a top the Capitol is a replica).  Made from plaster of paris. Ready for another history lesson? 🙂

Thomas Crawford (the designer), made a full size statue of it in clay. He did this in  Rome. It was then cast in plaster in five sections. He died unexpectedly before the model was sent to the US. His wife sent it on a boat in 1857 but it sprung a leak and stopped in Gibraltar to have it fixed, and sent on their merry way. All was well until it begun to leak again, it was so bad that we almost lost the statue. This time they stopped at Bermuda and could  not go any farther. It stayed in storage there until 1859 when other transportation was arranged. 

Upon arriving in the U.S. an Italian sculptor was hired to assemble the model for an agreed price. However when the time came to move the plaster model to the foundry for casting, no one knew how to separate it and the Italian sculptor refused to help unless given a pay raise.

Clark Mills (the guy hired to cast it in bronze), had a slave, Philip Reid who helped him with his work. Philip Reid figured out that by using a pulley and tackle to pull up on the lifting ring at the top of the model the seams between the sections would be revealed. The statue was then successfully separated into its five sections and transported to the foundry.  (and for those of you who might like to know, “Philip Reid received his freedom on April 16, 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act that released certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia. It is not known if he witnessed the event, but Reid was a free man when the last piece of the Statue of Freedom was put into place atop the Capitol Dome on December 2, 1863.” ) 🙂 A lot of this is stuff our tour guide told us, but we were told SO and I mean SO much, especially on this day so I brushed up my memory from this website.  A neat place if you want to learn more history on the Capitol!




Getting ready to take our tour! (Some have asked if we got to see where the Senate meets. You can go see it except on  Saturdays and Sundays, and since we were there on a Sunday, we couldn’t see it 🙁  )




Our fancy smanchy little head phones that we all wore so that we could actually hear what our tour guide was saying. There were TONS of people and different groups and everyone had headphones on so that they could hear their tour guide. 🙂




Escalators! 🙂




The Rotunda of the Capitol. You can see in the picture at the very top part of a white cloth, it was covering most of the dome in preparation for the construction. The white cloth was to help keep dust contained and also as a safety net.

Below the cloth and windows is a big long stretch (it goes all the way around) of a brown and white picture.  It looks like it’s carved but it’s actually painted in fresco,  a difficult painting technique to make it look like it’s carved.  It’s a painted panorama depicting 19 significant events in American history. Oh this place just oozes with history!  Pretty much every square inch in D.C. is like that! 🙂




Here you can see the cloth thing-a-ma-jigger lots better.



Painting of the Declaration of Independence.




Surrender of Lord Cornwallis.



National Statuary Hall,  A large two story, semicircular room that’s really isn’t that big.  The House of Representatives use to meet in this room for nearly 50 yrs.,  when they were all in session there were several hundred people. The acoustics helped carry someone’s voice (for back in the the day when we didn’t have fancy microphones 😉 ), but it also caused an annoying echo that could make it hard to understand. Our tour guide for the Capitol (Brandon in the center wearing red suit coat), demonstrated the acoustics for us. We stayed on one side and he went to the other,  facing the wall and looking up  he said “Hello”, and amongst all the other people and talking going on in the room, you could hear him quite well. 🙂    Several presidents were inaugurated here including James Madison, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Now 100 statues (two from each state), fill the room each one representing someone notable in that states history.




This guy, John Gorrie, invented air conditioning!  I like him! 😉




Daniel Webster–New Hampshire



Lewis Wallace, he’s from Indiana so of course I needed a picture of him. 🙂 Honestly though I don’t know who he is, time to do some research. 🙂



In the Crypt there are 40 columns that support the floor of the Rotunda,  a star located in the middle of the floor indicates the  point from which the streets in Washington are laid out and numbered. Also in the crypt are 13 statues representing the 13 original colonies. 





Crypt in Capitol

(No-People Picture Credit:  Architect of the Capitol Check out the Capitols Flickr page, it’s pretty cool! 🙂  )



Leaving the Capitol



And a selfie with the Capitol (we got pretty good at these 😉 ) and Barbra photobombing us. 😉








There were policemen all over the place just keeping watch. That, unfortunately, meant that I had to behave. 😛 🙂


There are constantly wedding pictures going on here, one gets done and another moves in. But if you look behind the wedding party you’ll see a fountain, it’s called the Senate parking garage fountain because the Senate’s parking garage is directly beneath it. 😉




A shot gun house that we drove past. Someone recently bought it and was going to tear it down, the town however,  did not like that and won’t let him because it’s historical. So now the guy has to figure out what to do with it. 😛




Our tour guide asked us what our state bird was, then he told us D.C. state bird…Cranes. We were like “oh, that’s nice”,  he said “no that’s a joke”. There is always construction going on so the people joke that their state bird is a Crane. 😉




The trees and flowers were so pretty! This particular tree was every where so I looked up what kind they were and it’s a Hopi Pink Crape Myrtle Tree. Hmm, I think we need to get some of these for our house. 🙂




Jefferson memorial. We didn’t go to it, but we drove past it. There was TONS to see so we had to give somewhere. 🙂




At Martin Luther King,  Jr. Memorial, that had about ten of his quotes on a long wall, they were all really good but, here are a few of my favorites. 🙂








There were so many planes, to the point your like “oh, there goes another plane” where as the first ones were like “OH COOL!!!! LOOK AT ALL THESE PLANES!!!!!!” 😉 It was fun to see so many of them and see them so low. Ronald Reagan Airport was very close by and is one of the hardest to land at because of  the tall buildings, it doesn’t slow down their business though because they said about every 30 seconds there is a plane taking off. 🙂








While here the President flew over us!  I unfortunately didn’t know that until later, 🙁  I must have been to occupied with reading, but it was still pretty cool. One of the people on our bus got a picture of his helicopter.




Across the water from Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, you could see Jefferson Memorial.




Me just being crazy and showing my excitement with a thumbs up while waiting on Susannah to buy her books (something that is pretty common…..).




My supper, OH. MAN.  It’s a very, and I mean very, rare occasion that I eat ribs. So when I had the choice of getting ribs for supper, I was delighted. The meal started out with salad, while wanting to be healthy, I  didn’t eat very much of that because for 1) I wanted to save room for the ribs, and 2) I can always have salad at home. Next came bread, again I didn’t eat very much. Then came the ribs and fries and they were SO. GOOD!  I ate and ate, and ate and ate, got full but didn’t want to waste the ribs (couldn’t really bring them back to the hotel because I didn’t have a way to reheat them) so I stuffed myself  like people do at Thanksgiving and I kinda hoped that there wasn’t any dessert. But there was! Thankfully it was just a small brownie so I ate it, too! 🙂  This by the way (in case you’re ever in the D.C. area and want some good food. 😉 ), was at “The Boulevard Grill”.




James and Iris, our wonderful and nice (new), friends we ate dinner with! 🙂




After stuffing ourselves we continued touring the city. This man that use to live in the house took care of the canals and  had 25 children, 20 survived to adulthood  but they were all raised in that house! Crazy! It’s so so tiny! And the road in front of it (the one we are on), use to be a canal.




World War Two Memorial.









There was a pillar for each sate, representing the men who died from each state.




Very sobering, but also good to be reminded of the price that was and is being paid for my/our freedom, so that I continue to appreciate it, not that I ever will forget, but sometimes when we get busy with life we forget just how high the price is!








Another picture of us with Washington Monument.  Right after we got done with our picture an Asian girl came up to us and said “Excuse me, can I have my picture taken with you?”  we were like sure! I don’t know why she wanted a picture with us, but it was fun to see her excited and make her day. 🙂

This was also the day that we were wearing our matching jumpers, and we happen to have matching shoes, too because she bought hers and I really liked them, so I bought myself some, too. 🙂 Several people through out the whole trip even on the days that we weren’t matching, asked if we were twins. 😉

I love this photo, because it shows me with my dear sister, experiencing an amazing adventure together!  🙂




At Korean War Memorial, here our tour guide, Frank, is showing us his picture on the wall (the one directly beside him or above his hand). All those pictures are real pictures, of real soldiers from newspaper articles/magazines and he happened to get put on the wall. 🙂




There are 19 life size statues, standing in patches of Juniper bushes and are separated by polished granite strips, which give a semblance of order and symbolize the rice paddies of Korea. They originally wanted 38 statues to symbolize the 38th Parallel and the 38 months of the war but some higher authority said no. Still determined to have the 38 though, they made 19 statues which is half of 38, then put up the Mural wall. The reflective black granite that it’s made out of reflects the 19 statues thus, making 38. 🙂

Though we were only in war for a short 38 months, 54,246 Americans died in support of their country.







Lincoln Memorial…We’ve not seen Night in the Museum 2, but we have seen the preview and there’s a part where Lincoln, the statue Lincoln, is talking and he says “Blah, blah, blah, I never lie!!!”  It’s a line that we use from time to time at our house so we of course couldn’t help but think of that while seeing Lincoln Memorial. 🙂

Since I had never been to the Lincoln Memorial, I didn’t realize that the big statue of Lincoln was actually set back into the building, I always thought he was outside.

A couple of fun facts:

The 36 pillars represent each of the states in the Union at the time of the President’s death in 1865. (By the completion of the monument in May 1922, the Union had increased by 12 more states, so the names of all 48 states were carved on the outside of the memorial’s walls.)

There are a total of 87 steps up to the memorial representing the Gettysburg Address “Fourscore seven years ago….”.




Up on the steps looking at the reflection pool and Washington Monument. If you look closely you can see the dome of the Capitol further on.




Can you find us? We’re both in this picture. I’ll give you a hint, we’re both wearing purple. 🙂


The picture is blurry because it’s taken on Susannah’s phone. Our camera battery DIED after Korean War Memorial and we still had to go see “Mr. Lincoln”!!! Thankfully we had Susannah’s phone, even if the quality isn’t the same, we still got pictures. 🙂







Vietnam Memorial. Every morning there is a light mist that comes of the Potomac River and rests on these three soldier statues. After a while, when it builds up (the eye lids are made to collect it), it runs down  the African American’s (far right) face making it look like he’s crying…he’s facing the Vietnam Wall, mourning the loss of all the soldiers.



The wall: Notice how it slopes down? The girl who designed it didn’t want it to be something happy to go to, it slopes down so that it’s like a hole in the ground. Both ends of the wall point to another D.C. landmark (Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument), thus bringing the Memorial into the historical context of our country.




58,272 names are listed on the wall, 1200 are listed as missing (POW, MIA or other).




In 1980, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund announced that there was going to be a national design competition open to any U.S. citizen 18 years of age or older, whoever won, that’s the design that would be used for the Wall.

There were four requirements for the design:

1. be reflective and contemplative in character;

2. harmonize with its surroundings;

3. contain the names of those who died in the conflict or who were still missing;

4. make no political statement about the war.

Out of the 1,421 design entries, the winning design was done my a college girl at Yale University, Maya Ying Lin, born in Athens, Ohio in 1959. Her parents fled from China in 1949 when Mao-Tse-tung took control of China.


I don’t think you can see it very well in the pictures, but beside every name is either a cross, or a diamond. The diamond meant that the death of the service member was confirmed, where the cross means they are missing. If found though, the cross is then carved into a diamond.




Our very last stop for the day before we headed back to our hotel. A memorial for all the African Americans who fought in the Civil War. You can see in the back a wall, it’s the Wall of Honor that surrounds  the statue with the names of  209,145 African American soldiers who fought in the war.

The “Spirit of Freedom” is the only national memorial to Colored Troops in the Civil War.







We then headed to our hotel for a good nights rest to get ready for day two of touring D.C. 🙂

Stick around, it won’t be long till the next post comes! 🙂





{Click here for part three}

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6 thoughts on “Washington D.C. part 2

  • November 2, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    I love reading your updates! I went to DC eight years ago (also on a bus tour), and recently I’ve really been wanting to go back. Reading your experience is helping me remember all those crammed-in sightseeing tours!

    I have a random question… did your tour guide have one or two particular lessons that he (or she?) wanted to drive home? I remember my tour guide always emphasizing that almost all the statues in DC are 19.5 feet. She started this on the very first day as we drove by the Capitol Building, explaining that the Freedom statue on top is 20 feet and nothing can be higher than freedom, which is taken symbolically in all the other statues. After touring for a couple days, we went to the Iwo Jima Memorial, she asked us how tall we thought the statue would be. Everyone chorused “19.5 feet”, and she said “Nope, we’re outside of DC, so it’s allowed to be taller!” She also taught us the difference between a monument and memorial, and asked us at each location “Was this built before or after the person died?”

    Looking forward to part 3!

    • November 2, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      Oh cool, Jessica! The bus tour is definitely the way to go, you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, nothing to worry about. 🙂

      Our tour guide did mention that nothing could be higher than the Capitol, but we thought that meant the whole height, guess we were wrong on that one. 🙂 And that’s funny about Iwo Jima.:)
      Yup, explained about the difference between the monument and memorial, so every time that we went to a new one Susannah and I were like “okay, is it a memorial or monument?” 🙂 But do explain what your tour guide told you, sounds a little different from what ours told us. 🙂 He said the memorials had a reflecting pool, with the meaning that your supposed to reflect on what that person did. So I’m interested in hearing about the whole built before or after they died. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

      ~Cassia 🙂

      • November 2, 2014 at 10:19 pm

        I never heard about the reflecting pool! I wonder if perhaps there are several requirements to make something an official memorial? I was told that, if it started being built when the person was alive, it was a monument (like the Washington Monument). If it was built after the person died, it was a memorial (like the Lincoln Memorial). For tributes to events, like war memorials, they are considered a memorial if they were built after the event ended.

        • November 3, 2014 at 5:25 pm

          Yeah maybe…that place oozes with so much history and symbolism…everything done with a purpose… 🙂 Thanks for sharing the info! 🙂 ~C

  • November 10, 2014 at 10:33 am

    This looks like so much fun!! A note on your Lew Wallace research – he wrote Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. That’s really all I know about him, but it’s one of my very favorite books. =) Thanks for sharing the pictures!

    • November 10, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks for the info…I’ll have to look up the second book, haven’t heard of that one. 🙂 And it was a lot of fun!!! 🙂 So glad they added that to our trip. 🙂 ~Cassia


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